KVX Ripper in action – extremely abrasive enviroment

22. March 2022

Fly ash from century old coal powerplants being recovered as aggregate for concrete blocks and bricks. The material is extremely abrasive, but KVX Ripper has solved a major issue for Afrimat Clinker Supplies in South-Africa.
Cat 349 KVX Ripper
VAAL, SOUTH-AFRICA: – We regularly encounter parts that are still burning. The ash piles are decades old, but internally still keep 500-600 degrees Celcius. This truly is a unique business, says Andrew Crausaz, Production Manager of Afrimat Clinker Supplies.  

 The  concept of utilizing clinker in concrete manufactured products was developed by the Clinker Group. It was established by the late Mr. J.B. Pfeffer in the 1950s, and acquired by the Afrimat group in 2012.  

The Afrimat group supplies construction materials, industrial minerals, and bulk commodities. In this operation of Afrimat local brick and block manufacturers prefer the ash clinker aggregate over conventional stone aggregate for two reasons:  

  • Light weight. Density is only 1,1 ton per cubic meter, compared to 1,8 tonnes per cubic meter conventional stone aggregate.  
  • Ash clinker is more reactive to the cement than conventional aggregate.  

 Currently Afrimat Clinker Supplies is finishing its sixth ash deposit since the start. Last year they completed a site delivering 16 million tonnes over the last ten years.  

Century old stockpile

Afrimat is in this kind of site operation recovering century old stockpile of coal fly ash from a decommissioned powerplants from 1900 to 1970. This stockpile has distinct characteristics which make operation challenging. The outer shell of the stockpile is not a very hard material, however very challenging to break loose. The inner materials is on some occasions still burning after decades being in the stockpiles.   

– The material being extremely abrasive that to a certain extent it eats steel for breakfast, Andrew Crausaz says.  

This is a challenging operation, in which reliable tools and machines are crucial. On site are two excavators with regular buckets and KVX ripper is use, and one dedicated rental excavator with breaker.  

From the stockpile the requirement is 4 – 500 mm size as an in-feed material for the crusher. 

The sequence of operation:  

  • Ripping outer shell on the stockpile
  • Breaking oversize material 
  • Loading and hauling material from stockpile to crhusher
  • Crushing and screening 
Operator Zambantu Velem (left), production manager Andrew Crausaz and supervisor Solomon Sibiya in Afrimat Clinker Supplies.
Operator Zambantu Velem (left), production manager Andrew Crausaz and supervisor Solomon Sibiya in Afrimat Clinker Supplies. 
Century old coal plant fly ash is extremely abrasive material. It eats steel for breakfast.
Andrew Crausaz

Production Manager, Afrimat Clinker Supplies

KVX Ripper in action

The ripper application is very crucial as this is the primary operation to open and crack loose the material in the stockpiles. Other option like blasting is also checked. Since the material is so porous this is not considered.  

Operational cost in GET wear is very high. A regular tooth only last a couple weeks.  

– Normally when we receive our regular GETs from a non-KVX supplier, we send it to our internal workshop for stainless steel wear reinforcement. We add very much material for wear protection. Coal fly ash is extremely abrasive, Andrew Crausaz says. 

 KVX Ripper is a game changer in this operation, due to its extreme abrasion wear resistance. 

Made from KVX Sagitta steel, it improves the service life and cost of operation significantly. The KVX ripper tooth also stays sharp and slim during operation, giving better penetration breaking loose and ripping the abrasive hard shell of the stockpiles. KVX rippers is top notch in this special application. 

Cat 349 KVX Ripper
Two Cat 349 excavators at 49 tonnes and a rented 20t JCB makes the main production capacity at the Vaal site of Afrimat Clinker Supplies. 

Why KVX Ripper is the optimal tool

KVX rippers has a variety of features making it the optimal tool for this particular operation: 

  • A slim profile ripper with good penetration.  
  • Strong, versatile attachment  
  • Reliable bolt-on one piece tooth takes more impact than any other adapter/tip solution.  
  • Reversible bolt on tooth that can easily be changed in the field.  
  • KVX Sagitta steel which makes the ripper tooth stay sharp and slim during operation in times becomes even sharper, giving better penetration as it wears.  
  • Sagitta steel GET also takes more heat than most competing products, adding even longer service life to the tools.

Production Manager Andrew Crausaz is very pleased with having all these benefits from KVX Ripper in the operation during all the years of partnership. He is also exceptionally pleased with the customer support from KVX´s regional sales manager Gil Do Gabo, performing a good follow up and addressing all challenges on site.    

Currently the company is reviewing KVX teeth and wear parts for their buckets.  

– The best product in the world doesn´t do me any good if you don´t have it available and supported… With KVX this is never an issue, Andrew says.

Afrimat Clinker Supplies, Vaal
One of Afrimat Clinker Supplies sites, south of Johannesburg.

More on the KVX Ripper

  • A slim profile ripper with good penetration.  
  • Strong, versatile attachment for operations where you can´t blast.  
  • The reliable bolt-on one piece tooth takes more impact than any other adapter/tip solution.  
  • Reversible bolt on tooth, easily changed in the field. This means less down time, more time producing and improved TCO.  
  • Manufactured from KVX Sagitta steel. This means the ripper tooth stays sharp and slim during all hours of production. Sometimes it even becomes sharper, giving better penetration as it wears.  
  • Sagitta steel GET takes more heat than most competing products, with good experience in hot slag. This leads to longer lifetime and improved TCO. 

Read more on product page  –  Download product sheet